Bollywood stumped by cricket? Not really, say film-makers, experts

As the 10th season of IPL kicks off, HT takes a look if the T20 tournament is still a threat to Bollywood business.

bollywood Updated: Apr 06, 2017 07:47 IST
Prashant Singh
Prashant Singh
Hindustan Times
Indian Premier League,IPL,BOllywood
Ajinkya Rahane with Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) captain Steve Smith ahead of the Indian Premier League.

When David Warner-led Sunrisers Hyderabad took on Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore on Wednesday (April 5) evening, it heralded the beginning of the 10th season of Indian Premier League (IPL). Interestingly, the popular T20 tournament that is in its 10th edition this year has been traditionally considered a direct competition to Bollywood’s business.

Threat or not

Interestingly, film-makers as well as experts feel IPL is “no longer a threat” to Hindi movie business. This year, throughout the tournament (that ends on May 21), films such as Begum Jaan starring Vidya Balan, Sonakshi Sinha’s Noor, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, Ayushmann Khurrana and Parineeti Chopra-starrer Meri Pyaari Bindu, Irrfan Khan’s Hindi Medium, and Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor-starrer Half Girlfriend will hit the theatres.

Prabhas will return as Bahubali in Baahubali 2: The Conclusion.

In fact, in the last three years (2014-2016), an average of 15 to 20 films released during IPL, with several hits including 2 States (2014), Heropanti (2014), Piku (2015), Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015), Baaghi (2016), and Nil Battey Sannata (2016). This year, though, only about 10 films are scheduled to release during the season.

Shraddha Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor will be seen in Half Girlfriend.

Win-win game

“I don’t think it’s (films releasing during IPL) a concern anymore. There may be a marginal effect during the peaking of the season, like from the quarterfinals stage onwards, but that’s okay. I feel that if a film is good, then it doesn’t matter if it’s releasing during IPL or not. People always look for entertainment, and the more the choices, the better it is,” says Baaghi and Heropanti director Sabbir Khan.

Vidya Balan will be seen as the main protagonist in Begum Jaan.

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh also feels that during its initial years, IPL “may have made a dent in the Bollywood box office but not any longer”. He says, “Both cricket and films can easily coexist with each other. Now, it can possibly affect the film business only during crucial matches. But the charm of big screen and films will never fade away in the face of any competition. So, Bollywood need not be scared.”

Irrfan Khan and Pakistani actor Saba Qamar will be seen in Half Medium.

Going by the past track record, Bollywood clearly doesn’t seem to have a reason to feel fidgety about the IPL onslaught. In the year 2012, several biggies such as Vicky Donor, Ishaqzaade, Housefull 2 and Jannat 2, released during the tournament, and yet went on to hit the box-office big league.

Director Mohit Suri, whose next film, Half Girlfriend, releases during IPL, says there are “professionals and experts to take a call on things like release dates”. However, he isn’t losing sleep over it. “IPL matches happen only in the evening for three hours. Maybe, the shows at those times could get affected. So, it shouldn’t be much of a concern,” he says.

Parineeti Chopra and Ayushmann Khurrana will be seen together in Meri Pyaari Bindu.

The counter view

On the other hand, trade expert Amod Mehra believes that IPL isn’t a concern anymore vis-à-vis the film business. Admitting that the “passion for IPL has dimmed over the past few years”, he says “it’s not as if the tournament is no longer a threat to the film biz”. “This year itself, no big-budget films are scheduled to release during the tournament. Any form of free entertainment is a direct threat to films, which is a paid-for platform,” he says.

Sonakshi Sinha will next be seen in Noor.

At the end, Suri puts things in perspective. “Like films, IPL too has its set of loyal fans. But in a big country like ours, if two films can release on the same day and do well, then there is always space for multiple forms of entertainment. So, there’s no need to press the panic button,” he says.

First Published: Apr 05, 2017 19:22 IST